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02-22-2004, 01:56 AM #1
National number one scores upset victory over Japan’s Yonekura
KUALA LUMPUR: National top singles player Wong Mew Choo wept again. This time, though, it was tears of joy as she got her revenge over world number 10 Kanako Yonekura of Japan after just five days.
Although the Malaysian girls have secured a place in the Finals, they continued with their fighting display against second seeds Japan in the third placing playoff of the Uber Cup Asian Zone qualifying tournament at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium.
They lost 1-3 but 20-year-old Mew Choo’s immaculate 10-13, 11-2, 11-9 win over Yonekura was the high point.
On Tuesday, Mew Choo had been outclassed in straight games by Yonekura in a group match.
Then, Malaysia went down 5-0 to Japan and Mew Choo had cried in disappointment.
Yesterday, world number 95 Mew Choo could not contain her joy after the win. She smiled broadly as she walked past the small group of fans and family members. And, once past them, she shed tears of joy.
“The tension was great during the match. My heart was beating so fast. I wanted to shout as loud as I can. I wanted so badly to avenge my defeat.
“And when I finally beat her, I was so moved and overjoyed,” said Mew Choo after the 70-minute thrilling battle against Yonekura.
Yesterday, the fight between the duo, who are separated by 85 rungs in the world rankings, went down the wire.
It was a cat and a mouse game with both tied at 7-7, 8-8, 9-9 and 10-10 but Yonekura went on to win 13-10.
In the second, Mew Choo was good at the net, sharp with her smashes and her placings and she won 11-2. They were locked in a fight again in the rubber but Mew Choo prevailed.
“I still have a lot to learn. There were still mistakes. I must learn to be more confident of myself,” said Mew Choo, who will head for the Swiss Open and All-England to continue her chase for a place in the Athens Olympic Games.
National singles coach Misbun Sidek, who has groomed Mew Choo for the last one year, was a proud man yesterday.
“She is about the same standard with the other players who are here. But she lacks experience. Still, she performed exceptionally well and I see a good future,” said Misbun.
“Her fitness made all the difference here. Based on her report from National Sports Institute (NSI), she is said to be even fitter than walker Yuan Yufang.”
Yesterday, Malaysia split their doubles players after Wong Pei Tty suffered a muscle pull on her thigh. But the move turned as a blessing in disguise.
Fong Chew Yen-Ooi Sock Ai were promoted as the first singles and surprisingly they gave world number eight Shizuka Yamamoto-Seiko Yamada a run for their money in their 10-15, 11-15 defeat. It was certainly their best performances in the tournament.
The scratch second doubles pair of Chin Eei Hui-Mooi Hing Yau also gave a good account of themselves before going down 9-15, 3-15.
National women's doubles coach Cheah Soon Kit said inexperience was evident in the players' performances yesterday.
“They played well but for players like Sock Ai and Hing Yau, this is only their first major international tournament. They are young and they can be strong in the next two years.”
Woon Sze Mei also played yesterday but she went down tamely 11-6, 11-5 to Koari Mori.
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